Multinational Battle Group East soldiers show adaptability during exercise

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CAMP MONTEITH, Kosovo — Turkish soldiers repel assaults from simulated rioters from the Portuguese army during an exercise at Camp Monteith, Kosovo, May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Dodds)

CAMP MONTEITH, Kosovo — Army Staff Sgt. Ciciley R. Littlewolf, of Wahpeton, N.D., watches as Army Spc. John D. Kotaska, of Grand Forks, N.D., inserts a nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) during an exercise at Camp Monteith, Kosovo May 27. Army Sgt Chris J. Coombs, of Moorhead, Minn., was deemed a simulated casualty, with a chest wound, that the medics and combat lifesavers inserted an NPA and was given an IV to simulate real-life scenarios. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Dodds)

CAMP MONTEITH, Kosovo — Soldiers of Multinational Battle Group East took part in a large exercise May 27 that involved multiple situations and tested the agility and adaptability of NATO Kosovo Forces (KFOR).

American and Turkish soldiers worked together at Camp Monteith to provide security for a simulated meeting involving a government official. The soldiers also provided inner and outer security to protect a Property with Designated Special Status (PrDSS), an area or institution under special KFOR protection.

According to Army 1st Lt. Jarrod Simek, of Dickinson, N.D., the executive officer of MNBG E’s Bravo Company, this was the second time Bravo’s soldiers have protected a PrDSS during training missions in Kosovo. He said their skills have improved because of what they learned on these exercises.

The event also tested the ability of MNBG E soldiers to control a riot, provide medical treatment, and react to unexploded ordinance (UXO). The Battle Group command staff coordinated and directed the maneuver of American and Turkish forces, as well as MNBG E’s aviation assets and the explosive ordnance disposal unit as they all responded to the challenges of the exercise.

“In a training exercise such as this, you are going to get exposed to UXOs, casualties, and a wide range of other things that could potentially occur in reality,” Simek said. “This is an all encompassing test and I think we passed with flying colors.”

Soldiers in the MNBG E area of operations, outside of Camp Monteith, also took part in the exercise.

Army Lt. Col. Jerry M. Anderson, of Bismarck, N.D., the deputy chief of operations for MNBG E, said Ukraine soldiers supported operations on the Administrative Boundary Line with Serbia, Polish soldiers vigilantly monitored the border with the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, and Greek soldiers provided a Quick Reaction Force capable of responding across Kosovo.

KFOR’s Portuguese soldiers played the role of mock “rioters” who provided resistance to both the Turkish and U.S. soldiers’ defenses at Camp Monteith.

Tasked with the role of outer security, the Turkish soldiers under the command of Turkish army Capt. (OF-2) Ali Dunder, were the first to meet the opposition outside a concertina wire fence built by U.S. soldiers.

“We learned from prior exercises that you cannot protect an open area with just a CRC capable force, so we set up concertina wire and now we only have two entrances to protect,” said Army Capt. Jason Peterson, of Grand Forks, N.D., commander of Bravo Company.

A medical evacuation of a simulated injured soldier took place during the mock riot, and the medics on the ground and the air medical evacuation team were quick to respond. In less than 40 minutes the soldier was headed back to the Camp Bondsteel hospital.

The U.S. soldiers took over the outer defense from the Turkish soldiers and gained more experience in quelling violence and helping enforce security.

“It gives our young soldiers a real idea of what we could expect if we come upon a real riot,” said Army Sgt Ashley N. Timian, Fargo, N.D., an acting squad leader for 2nd Platoon, 3rd Squad, Bravo Company. “It lets us know where our weaknesses are, so we can make ourselves stronger – it helps us keep our strengths – and identify the things we want to change.”

Multinational Battle Group East is a U.S.- led unit, commanded by Army Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This Battle Group is comprised of nearly 1,200 soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR (Polish/Ukraine) and Turkey. The charter mission of MNBG-E is maintaining a safe and secure environment and providing freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo.

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